CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle encouraged Equifax to take additional steps to notify all consumers impacted by its data breach in a letter sent Wednesday. Equifax announced the breach late last week, which it said impacts 143 million American consumers, with an additional 209,000 credit card numbers also being stolen.
“We encourage Equifax to develop stronger methods to ensure that all consumers have been contacted and fully appreciate the implication of the breach to their credit file and the risks of identity theft,” Nussle wrote. “We leave this method up to your organization but remind you again that a press release and generic letter likely do not suffice for an entity like Equifax that is unknown to many consumers.”
Nussle also noted that, since Equifax does not have a direct relationship with consumers, it may be unknown to them. Therefore, correspondence from Equifax may be viewed as junk mail, or suspicious, and may miss notification they were affected by the breach.
“We also encourage Equifax to immediately provide more information to consumers and businesses impacted by the breach,” Nussle wrote. “The vacuum of information available only serves to sow additional angst for credit unions and consumers and does little to help Equifax protect them from the breach.”
Nussle also requested a detailed briefing regarding the breach and consumer notification and protection efforts, so CUNA can adequately inform its member credit unions of the negative impact the breach might have on operations.
CUNA has spent considerable time monitoring and studying the breach and its implications, and hopes a briefing will allow it to more fully assess the effects.